Good morning from the Major who writes from a grey and dull Worcestershire, it feels like a place in limbo, waiting for a magnificent sun to break through or for those heavens to douse us. Death or glory.
So Frankel is being aimed at Champions Day after all and not the Arc. This has left some mixed feelings for the Major. What I would like them to do and what I would do myself are two entirely different courses of action!What I would have dearly loved is for a glorious shot at the Arc. For the Major, the Arc is the best race in the world, matching the best classic generation sorts against the best older horses that stayed in training. Big fields can be carnage, coming off the bend, there are many a hard luck story. Yet it is the premier race and Frankel was 1/4 with a run.
What were his chances? Well pretty good I would say. The days of doubting Frankels staying credentials are long gone. They only existed because of that lit up racing style he exhibited but that has long been gone. When he has finished his races, he has needed the full strength of Queally to stop him! I think with a fair run he would have won the Arc as easily as he has beaten all other valid Group One opposition. We are in the era of a wonder-horse and we should revel in it.
I am sorry if you are missing the odd diatribe on modern life or a run down of a Victorian military conquest. The aura of Frankel is mesmerising for the Major and I want to capture it in my blog.
I know you read this and I have a duty to you, I suppose to vary the content, to try and entertain even. I also write it though and it is just as much for me – In years to come, I have my very public racing journal of memories. Frankel is such a big part of it, I apologise little if I over-focus a little on him. Fogive me, allow me this.
Are you in doubt that he is the best you have seen? Are you thinking Camelot is a worthy adversary?
Frankel has routinely beaten the best there is…. – His beaten foes have won 45 Group Ones between them as well as 39 Group Twos.
…and he has smashed them! – While other ‘wonder-horses’ Sea The Stars, Zenyatta and Rock of Gibraltar won their 26 G1 races putting a grand total of 40 lengths between them and their pursuers. Frankel has won 9 G1s….. he has put 49 lengths between him and his opponents.
We float by just the once people, if you get the chance to go to Ascot, go – It will likely be the last race of possibly the greatest horse ever to run. Yes, comparisons like that are possible if not provable. Secretariat, Brigadier Gerard and Mill Reef might be in the comparison. Possibly the fly in the ointment belongs to a different age.
Eclipse was not only the undisputed champion of the mid-nineteenth century but went on to be the most influence in bloodstock of all time. 97% of modern racehorses are through his bloodline, perhaps Frankel has something to achieve yet…. not on the track but at the stud.
Go to Ascot, revel in the might and power of a hero. To the sports…
Sandown Tips – Solario Stakes included
The Group race of the day is at Sandown and the Major has had a good look at these cards.
Master of War was second in a group two last time out and is installed here as favourite. As a Hannon two year old, you have to fancy his chances in this and I am sure he will step up his performances for the increased distance.
The Major prefers the prices of the following two though who I think have equally good chances at bigger prices.
Thair is coming down from G2 company and this Chesham winner looks a tasty prospect to the Major.
Fantastic Moon could be anything after winning wha looks like a useful maiden (several winners to emerge since). Noseda took this race last year and surely this is a useful sort at 9/2.
On balance, I am tipping Fantastic Moon – Thair deserves to be thereabouts, Master of War achieved as much but I like the unexposed nature of this one and give the colt an equal chance so the 9/2 with Hills is value.
I cannot get an angle into the handicap or the fillies Group 3 and so I am going to leave the obvious in and say that Law Enforcement, evens, will win the Nursery… easily!
Chester Tips – 2.30 Listed Handicap
Communicator is up 9lbs for his recent exploits and it is enough for the Major to look elsewhere, mind you the yard don’t send that many to Chester and have had some decent results here
The money is coming for Tominator who was arguably very unlucky in the Ebor. Again, I am not sure this is the sort or the price I want.
Rosslyn Castle is more like it, a gambling yard, bottom of the weights and a horse who is returning from a disappointing effort when finishing last of seven last time out. 7/1 and supported – shortlist.
Quiz Mistress looks a great each way shout at 12s – Stepping up into group company proved too hot last time out but these conditions will be perfect.
Never Can Tell should not be 28s (Coral) – Dr K’s horses are used to turning up at Chester and throwing the form book away – I would not put you off if you fancied a punt on a massive price.
The horse I am settling on though is Midsummer Sun at 11/1 (Stan James) – The Sir Henry Cecil 5yo will appreciate this drop in class and the form of his last G3 has worked out very well. While 5th of 7, the distance was not so far and perhaps the camber of Goodwood was off-putting – The horse is one of a few (Communicator included) to have won at Chester and it is a track that throws a few off due to its tight corners and need to be prominent at the home turn. Queally is a master and the horse knows what to do – 11/1, have a Major slice that makes your eyes water and your spine tingle!
Killarney Tips – Flat and Jumps
I do love these mixed jump and flat cards and patrons of Killarney will no doubt have a wonderful day.
In the 3.20 I am going to stick with the obvious and suggest that Count of Limonade will improve significantly to take this. Having to concede a few pounds should be no problem for the son of Duke of Marmalade if the expected improvement that the Major thinks is there comes in.
In the 5pm Grade C hurdle – 16 runners are due to post – I am confident one non runner will spoil the each way, four place fun but it is still a race to find a well priced horse.
This is a fantastic conundrum with the field priced at 5/1.
Rattan destroyed his three rivals last time out and while it might not be the best of form, Run with the Wind, defeated that day was a supported horse in the Galway hurdle so might not be as bad as we think. Mullins is on fire too.
Baily Green has been improving over the larger obstacles and comes back to hurdles a stone better off than the chase mark – Interesting at 11/1.
The Shepherd King was pulled up when favourite on his last outing and this is his first stint on track for some time. 20/1 is massive and takes a huge chance that the improvement had stopped after a two mile hurdle and bumper win – Interesting, particularly as the trainer goes to Robbie Power (1 win from 2 runs for the yard).
9/1 Rattan is the Killarney hurdle tip whose trainer form gives it the nod.
Enjoy your Saturday racing punting, may your bets be blessed from above.
In the Premier League, I am having some good form – So far this season, Everton paid well at 2/1 at Villa and last week, my only bet Wigan won at 19/10 at Southampton.
I am basing my choices on momentum (on the pitch and off the pitch) at clubs and trying to factor in some natural variance. This feels a stronger approach than form alone.
Both Everton and West Brom are on a confidence peak – 41/17 the draw is a very attractive bet, a score draw even more so – Back 1-1 and 2-2 – A result either club would probably be happy with.
It won’t be pretty but West Ham at 8/5 buoyed by popular signings and playing their own way should be strong enough at home to overcome a Fulham team that probably don’t have enough to impose themselves.
Newcastle should beat Villa but no tip as variance scares me on this – Are Villa genuinely that bad? At the moment they look like relegation contenders but surely Lambert will sort them out?
Sunderland are my other selection. Yes, Swansea are flying and full of confidence but Sunderland are also on a high after sealing the services of Johnson and 43/15 is massive – Almost quadruple your dough!
May your dinner be fuelled by a succession of blows inflected on the enemy. May he yearn for the day when your eyes had never seen his prices. Eat well tonight and drink some good beer. Heartiness is goodness.
Courage, roll those dice.